Moriah Guitars was founded in 2007 by John Mark Hampton. John Mark has been building musical instruments since the late 70′s. He attended the Guitar Research and Design Center and was instructed by George Morris and Charles Fox in acoustic and electric guitar construction. After attending this school he got a commission to build some electric guitars for a local music store in Greensboro, NC .
When the commission of guitars for the music store was completed, he ventured out with a friend to start a boutique guitar company, which was founded in 1980. The next 5 years were an incredible adventure in design and building. It was amazing to have so many opportunities to meet players from all over the place. Even though John Mark moved on in 1984, he has continued to design and build prototype models all the way up to 2002.
It was right after Y2K that an old friend came by and requested him to build a guitar for his son, Joseph Cotten. It was during the construction of this guitar that the idea of Moriah Guitars started to materialize. Moriah oﬃcially launched in 2007.
Even though John Mark favors building acoustic guitars, the electric guitar has always followed along. The two instruments are very diﬀerent in many ways, but the same skills can transfer to both. The main diﬀerence is found in that of the player and what expectations surround each design element. Acoustic guitar design develops in ever increasing levels of technology, as new ideas surface almost daily. Many gifted builders are out there now, pushing the envelope beyond what has been understood about the acoustic guitar. Unlike the violin, which found its design pinnacle with Stradivarius hundreds of years ago, the guitar design continues to become reﬁned and developed with each new breakthrough.
We are exploring new ideas for building electric and acoustic guitars. This is done is by listening to players and employing new design changes to the instrument. The old saying about necessity being the mother of invention is indeed true at Moriah. Beauty and design simplicity have inspired many ideas which are being used on all our models. Finding woods that have both sonic and visually appealing characters always presents a challenge to the process. This design philosophy, which focuses on simplicity, leads us toward the removal of as many screws and trim devises as possible. We use magnets to hold truss rod and control cavity covers in place, as they are recessed into the surrounding surfaces. Our pickups are directly mounted to the body, giving a more woody and alive tone, and also allows the trim to be removed.
Great discussions have come from players that have always wanted to ﬁnd certain elements in a guitar. Sometimes these ideas can become almost impractical to actually create in real life, however we enjoy the adventure going down the road of “what could be” in the dream guitar. We live for the challenge to try out ideas, and test the results.
We have really enjoyed doing this guitar building thing. It is our hope that you will ﬁnd the same enjoyment in playing Moriah guitars.